For most of us, life very often takes on a sense of routine, where we are occupied with work and family issues and personal concerns. This is what leads us to the sudden realisation that time seems to pass very quickly, with week following week, month by month, and year by year. It sometimes comes as a shock to us to realise that time seems to pass so quickly, and often we are left wondering why we seem to have achieved so little with our lives.
It is precisely because of the passing of time, and the routine of our daily lives that we need sometimes to step back from the normal, and to become more spiritually aware of the ways that God is present in our daily lives, and calling us to realise more fully that each and every day is a gift from God, where we are being invited to recognise His loving presence in each and every moment of our lives.
For Saint Alphonsus, the founder of the Redemptorists, one of the ways of assisting people to take a step back from routine and to focus more deeply on the love of God, was through the preaching of missions. His idea was that we all, as individuals and families, as well as a parish, need to be refreshed in our spiritual awareness of the presence of God in all the ordinary experiences of human life. The idea of a Mission was, for him, aimed at recognising this as a moment of personal and community grace, a time when we are called to conversion and to growth in prayer and holiness.
This has been at the core of the vocation of the Redemptorists since Saint Alphonsus founded the Congregation almost 300 years ago. While we run parishes, such as Holy Redeemer, all over the world, our main task is to preach the good news of the Gospel to all those who most need to hear it. Our call is to help people to personally recognise that in the midst of all the joys and sorrows of our human journey, we are each loved and cherished and saved by Our Most Holy Redeemer who reveals to us that our God is a God of mercy and compassion.
I am therefore delighted that in the coming week we will be celebrating a Mission of Mercy, which will be conducted by Fr Larry Kaufmann. The Mission will run from Monday to Thursday, with the main services taking place each evening at 7.30.p.m. We will of course also have our normal daily Masses each day at 6.15 and 8.30 each morning.
I truly believe that our Mission of Mercy is a great moment of grace for all of us. As individuals, we are being invited to be refreshed in our personal journey of faith and our experience of the loving mercy of Jesus. Perhaps even more importantly, the Mission of Mercy is an opportunity to reflect on our call to live out our lives as families of mercy. We all know that family life is a constant challenge to love and to cherish and to forgive. I would therefore urge all the families of our parish to make a real effort to attend the Mission as families, praying together for the grace to be channels of God’s mercy to each other.
Finally, the Mission is a call for our parish here at Holy Redeemer to respond to the call of God to become a true parish of mercy, where no one should feel unwelcome or judged or excluded. Let us all pray together that this coming week will be a time of grace for all of us, and a time where we all experience and share together the overwhelming love and mercy of God.
Fr Gerard, CSsR